Measurement With Persons: Theory, Methods, and Implementation Areas (Scientific Psychology Series)

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Contents

  1. The Scientific Method and Psychology Research
  2. Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks
  3. Recommended For You
  4. Scientific Psychology Series - Routledge

Frequency of use may not reflect perceived quality of the theory but instead, fashion, familiarity, prior training, exposure or incentivisation.

We hope that this review will help to increase awareness among intervention designers and researchers about the range of theories available. We report nine criteria agreed as markers of theory quality that could aid selection of the most appropriate theory or theories. Our decision to focus on theories of behaviour change at the level of the individual and exclude theories concerned with group behaviour is likely to be part of the explanation for the preponderance of psychological theories identified in the review, although even interventions at the community level tend to be informed by psychological or social—psychological theories e.

This, and the decision not to include books where sociological and anthropological theories are more likely to be found, may go some way to explaining why these types of theory are under-represented. In addition, Kelly et al. Given that interventions may be improved by drawing on theories specifically targeting group behaviours, this would be a useful focus for a future literature review as we are not aware of there being such a review.

The Scientific Method and Psychology Research

Theories, as conceptualised here, ranged from quite specific e. The cut-offs at either end of this spectrum were agreed by consensus but were inevitably arbitrary. A general observation was that more general theories may have greater face validity but be less useable in guiding research than more specific theories; choice of theory will therefore be partly guided by the purpose it is to be put to.

Another observation was that there appeared to be no generally accepted use of terms such as theory, model, framework and orientation, with different uses by different authors. Increasing the precision of, and consensus on, use of terminology would be helpful for the field. Behaviours are also part of sequences, often dependent on previous behaviours e. Just as the relevance of a particular theory may vary across type of behaviour, so it may vary according to the level of specificity.

The review also suggests that there are a large number of theories that are of potential use in designing public health interventions. The cataloguing of 83 theories of behaviour change is an important resource for researchers wishing to draw on theories beyond the few that currently dominate the literature. However, few of these theories have been subjected to wide-scale rigorous empirical evaluation. There have been calls for more operationalization, application, testing and refining of theories over many years e.

We need more investment into methodological and substantive research in this area, for example, the use of fractionated factorial Collins et al. Identifying the theories in this review is just the first step in a much larger and ongoing programme of work aimed at improving the use of appropriate theory and the scientific rigour with which it is applied. Transforming the nine quality criteria into forms, such as reliable scales or response options that can be used in evaluating theories is a complex task, and a study in its own right.

The evolution of theories over time, including the issue of when a theory is considered a new theory, will also be examined. Many theories contained similar constructs or the same constructs but with slightly different names. Understanding these similarities and working towards a common set of terminology would facilitate the building of a cumulative understanding of mechanisms of action from both primary research and evidence syntheses.

Having said this, it is also important to recognise that not only language varies across and within disciplines but so do epistemological and ontological assumptions and preoccupations. The next phase of the current research is to i investigate the connectedness of theories with each other and ii operationalize and demonstrate the application of the agreed quality criteria.

These will both inform the understanding of theory and its development, and help guide researchers, policy-makers and interventions on the appropriate selection and application behaviour change theories to developing public health and other behaviour change interventions. We are also grateful to Kate Sheals for invaluable help in the latter stages of manuscript preparation. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Health Psychology Review. Health Psychol Rev. Published online Aug 8. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Email: ku. Received Jan 29; Accepted Jul 2. This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author s have been asserted.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Interventions to change health-related behaviours typically have modest effects and may be more effective if grounded in appropriate theory. Keywords: behaviour change, health behaviour, theory, behavioural interventions. Methods Theories of behaviour and behaviour change were identified through five sources: expert consultation with a multidisciplinary project advisory group, electronic databases, web searching, forward and backward searching of reference lists and hand searching of key behavioural science journals.

Identification of relevant theories To inform the literature search strategy, theories of behaviour and behaviour change were identified through expert consultation with the advisory group and an initial scoping of the literature using generic and discipline-specific terms related to behaviour and behaviour change theories. Literature search strategy The literature search was conducted primarily to uncover theories of behaviour and behaviour change that were not identified through expert consultation with our advisory group. Inclusion criteria for theories Theories were included if they: i met our definition of theory and behaviour and ii considered individual behaviour as an outcome or part of the process leading to the outcome.

Inclusion criteria for articles Screening of articles was in two stages. Inter-rater reliability Articles were screened for relevance at abstract and full-text stage by the lead author Rachel Davis. Data extraction Data were extracted on: i country where the research took place, ii theory used, iii type of article descriptive, intervention, evaluative or review , iv design quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods , v target behaviour e.

Quality assessment criteria We reviewed key literature which synthesised scientific and philosophical perspectives on what makes a theory scientific and useful for the purpose of effecting healthy behaviour change in a target population e. Results We report the theories of behaviour and behaviour change identified in our review and the agreed criteria for assessing theory quality. Theories identified Eighty-two theories of behaviour and behaviour change were identified. Table 1. Theories identified, along with first author and date of the primary theory source and the number of articles reporting the theory.

Open in a separate window. Note: Theories 30—32 were all reported in one paper. Articles retrieved In the results sections that follow we briefly summarise the main findings of the articles included in our review. Figure 1. Article characteristics Articles were published between and , with most of the research conducted in Europe and North America. Table 2. For those articles where a direction of the target behaviour was not explicitly outlined, the target was coded in the expected direction of the behaviour in terms of its health promoting effects.

References Abraham C.

Introduction

Psychology, Health and Medicine. What happened in the sixties? British Journal for the History of Science. Tailored information about cancer risk and screening: A systematic review. Patient Education and Counseling. A test of major assumptions about behavior change: A comprehensive look at the effects of passive and active HIV-prevention interventions since the beginning of the epidemic. Psychological Bulletin. The efficacy of behavioral interventions to modify dietary fat and fruit and vegetable intake: A review of the evidence.

Preventive Medicine.

Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks

Managing smoking cessation. Effectiveness of interventions to promote healthy diet in primary care: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMC Public Health. Theories of how the school environment impacts on student health: Systematic review and synthesis. Moore L. Systematic review of the effects of schools and school environment interventions on health: Evidence mapping and synthesis.

Public Health Research. Wathen N. What implementation interventions increase cancer screening rates? A systematic review. Implementation Science. Stage-based interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Framework for design and evaluation of complex interventions to improve health. Kinmonth A. Designing and evaluating complex interventions to improve health care. Validation of the theoretical domains framework for use in behaviour change and implementation research. Interventions for tobacco cessation in the dental setting. Do financial incentives for delivering health promotion counselling work?

Analysis of smoking cessation activities stimulated by the quality and outcomes framework. Fiore M. The multiphase optimization strategy for engineering effective tobacco use interventions. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Predicting health behaviour: Research and practice with social cognition models. Buckingham: Open University Press; Developing and evaluating complex interventions: The new Medical Research Council guidance. Shrank W. Physician effectiveness in interventions to improve cardiovascular medication adherence: A systematic review.

Science Of Persuasion

Journal of General Internal Medicine. The preventable causes of death in the United States: Comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors.

Recommended For You

PLoS Medicine. A systematic review of the use of theory in the design of guideline dissemination and implementation strategies and interpretation of the results of rigorous evaluations. Identifying active ingredients in complex behavioural interventions for obese adults with obesity-related co-morbidities or additional risk factors for co-morbidities: A systematic review.

A comparison of two measures of stage of change for smoking cessation. Interventions targeted at women to encourage the uptake of cervical screening. Selected major risk factors and global and regional burden of disease. A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations. Factors influencing behaviour and behaviour change. In: Baum A. To inform the literature search strategy, theories of behaviour and behaviour change were identified through expert consultation with the advisory group and an initial scoping of the literature using generic and discipline-specific terms related to behaviour and behaviour change theories.

The literature search was conducted primarily to uncover theories of behaviour and behaviour change that were not identified through expert consultation with our advisory group. Secondary to this we identified the ways in which the theories we identified had been empirically applied. While we briefly report this, it was beyond the scope of the study to analyse this comprehensively and in detail.

Databases were chosen based on their coverage of discipline- and content-specific literature and on the volume of public health literature. The final search was conducted on the 11 September The search strategy included four sets of search terms: those that i apply theory to behaviour change e. A list of the search terms together with how these terms were combined can be found in the online supplemental material Supplemental Figure 1. The search strategy was customised to each database. Standard filters were used to capture systematic reviews where applicable.

A sensitivity analysis was performed to ensure that the search results included key articles on theories relevant to behaviour change identified through the initial scoping of the literature. Given the complex body of evidence, in terms of cross-cutting disciplines and sheer breadth and volume of literature, the search was restricted to titles and abstracts to tighten the search specificity.

Additional potentially relevant theories were identified through expert consultation and web searching for key documents from organisations known for their interest in behaviour change. Forward and backward citation searching, and hand searching of key behavioural science journals were performed to minimise the likelihood of relevant theories being missed. Theories were included if they: i met our definition of theory and behaviour and ii considered individual behaviour as an outcome or part of the process leading to the outcome.

Theories that considered group behaviour e. While we acknowledge that such theories are of interest to intervention designers who want to change group behaviour we decided to limit the scope of the review to theories concerned with individual behaviour change to keep it manageable. The inclusion of each theory was considered independently by at least two of the four authors and by members of the advisory group. Inter-rater reliability was assessed. Theories that focused purely on cognition were not included. Examples of such theories include Social Comparison Theory Festinger, , which aims to explain how people's opinions are influenced within social groups and Cognitive Adaptation Theory Taylor, , which aims to explain how people cognitively adapt to threatening events.

While these theories contribute to our understanding of knowledge, beliefs and intentions about behaviour there are often significant gaps between these and behaviour Sheeran, and this project was about theories of behaviour and behaviour change. We distinguished frameworks, which provide an organising structure, from theories which, in addition, offer explanations of how phenomena relate to each other and permit outcomes to be predicted.

Thus, conceptual frameworks such as the TDF Cane et al. While these frameworks have value in implementation and in public health research, policy and practice, this review was of specific theories. Screening of articles was in two stages. The first stage title and abstract was intentionally inclusive, retaining articles if they mentioned: i theory in relation to behaviour or behaviour change or ii changing behaviour but made no reference to theory the full text of the article was then checked to see if theory was used to inform the research. We considered all behaviour to be of relevance, not just health-related behaviours.

At the second stage of screening full-text tighter restrictions applied and articles were included if: i theory and behaviour was defined as per our study definitions and ii they fell into one of four categories of article: descriptive, intervention, evaluative or review:. Secondary theory sources i. We focused on behaviour as the end-point rather than the consequence of the behaviour e.

Evaluative articles were defined as those reporting studies that empirically tested a theory longitudinally. Review articles were defined as those that systematically reviewed a theory in relation to a change in behavioural outcomes. Narrative reviews or selective overviews of the literature i. Articles were excluded if they: focused on cognition e. Dissertations and doctoral theses, books and book reviews, conference posters and presentations, editorials and commentaries were excluded for practical reasons to limit the volume of material to be retrieved and reviewed to manageable proportions.

Articles that used multiple theories to inform their methodology were excluded because our review was of the empirical application of individual theories to changing behaviour. We did not exclude articles based on their quality, since the methodology of applying these criteria has yet to be developed. Articles were screened for relevance at abstract and full-text stage by the lead author Rachel Davis. Since the data constitute unbalanced cells, we have used percentage agreement as it provides a more transparent and more readily interpretable parameter than Cohen's kappa.

Differences of views about inclusion were resolved through discussion and consensus with the other authors. Data were extracted on: i country where the research took place, ii theory used, iii type of article descriptive, intervention, evaluative or review , iv design quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods , v target behaviour e.

We reviewed key literature which synthesised scientific and philosophical perspectives on what makes a theory scientific and useful for the purpose of effecting healthy behaviour change in a target population e. These were considered by the advisory group in both a face-to-face discussion and a subsequent electronic Delphi-like consultation aimed at achieving consensus. We report the theories of behaviour and behaviour change identified in our review and the agreed criteria for assessing theory quality. A high-level summary of the key characteristics of the review articles is also provided.

Eighty-two theories of behaviour and behaviour change were identified. These are listed in Table 1 along with the lead author, date of the paper that originally described the theory and the number of articles that reported using the theory. Fifty-nine out of the 82 theories were applied in the articles included in our review. In other words, these were theories that met our inclusion criteria but did not have relevant articles retrieved from our search strategy that met our article inclusion criteria, i.

Theories identified through our search that were excluded, with reasons for exclusion, can be found in the online supplemental material Supplemental Table 1. It is important to note here that while our intention was to provide a list of potentially relevant theories across different disciplines, it was not possible to categorise the theories according to disciplines.

In the results sections that follow we briefly summarise the main findings of the articles included in our review. Further examination of the empirical application of these theories using our quality assessment criteria is part of the future research programme. Of articles retrieved through the database search, were excluded at the first stage of screening title and abstract and articles out of the remaining were excluded after full-text screening, leaving articles.

To these a further 20 articles were added through searching the reference lists of the included articles, resulting in articles. Figure 1 displays a flow chart of the search results. Articles were published between and , with most of the research conducted in Europe and North America. Thirty-one descriptive articles either primary theory sources or extensions of a theory were identified. For a high-level summary of these key characteristics, please refer to Table 2 ; a more detailed account of each individual article can be found online in Supplemental Table 2. Papers published by the same first author and focused on the same theory were assessed to identify cases in which multiple articles based on the same intervention i.

Eighty-two theories were identified that spanned a myriad of behaviours and could be applied to designing and evaluating interventions to improve public health, as well as tackle other social issues such as environmental sustainability and public safety. It is important to note that the literature identified in the scoping review reflects the search strategy that aimed to identify theories rather than exhaustively review theoretically informed empirical studies. Therefore, whilst the review identified articles that use the theories in relation to our inclusion criteria, it does not reflect the wider application of these theories to public health-related research.

Scoping reviews are used to map or configure a body of evidence. They therefore tend to focus on breadth, including studies that are representative of the variation within the evidence base, rather than focusing on depth and assembling all the eligible material. It can also mean that establishing what the boundaries of the review are, and therefore what should be included or excluded, may be refined during the course of the review Shemilt et al.

Scientific Psychology Series - Routledge

Consensus methods can help with this process. While we intended to conduct this review in a systematic and reproducible way, as it was the first attempt that we were aware of to review a bodies of theory in this way, its purpose seemed more akin to that of a scoping than a systematic review. Arguably what we wanted to attempt was a combination of these two things but we have nevertheless labelled what we did a scoping review.

From the theories we identified, only a few were frequently applied in literature. While the purpose of our scoping review was not to uncover all the relevant literature on how these theories have been applied, the finding is of interest because it is consistent with other reviews and publications e.

While the literature we uncovered was limited by our inclusion criteria, and includes a small number cases in which authors have published more than one article applying the same theory to the same data-set or intervention, it indicates the very uneven distribution of frequency of theory use.


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This raises the question as to why many theories are so little used. One explanation may be that how often a theory is used, could in part, be confounded by the year in which the theory was introduced. Knowledge of a theory in terms of how much it is discussed in the public domain is also likely to play a role. However, a couple of examples suggest that frequency does not necessarily follow quality. For example, the theory appearing most frequently in our review, the TTM, has been criticised on several grounds West, and its empirical support has been questioned by systematic review findings e.

On the other hand, recent meta-regression evidence has shown good support for Control Theory Dombrowski et al. Another explanation is that people are not aware of the full range of theories from which to choose and so instead opt for those most commonly applied in the literature. Frequency of use may not reflect perceived quality of the theory but instead, fashion, familiarity, prior training, exposure or incentivisation.

We hope that this review will help to increase awareness among intervention designers and researchers about the range of theories available. We report nine criteria agreed as markers of theory quality that could aid selection of the most appropriate theory or theories. Our decision to focus on theories of behaviour change at the level of the individual and exclude theories concerned with group behaviour is likely to be part of the explanation for the preponderance of psychological theories identified in the review, although even interventions at the community level tend to be informed by psychological or social—psychological theories e.

This, and the decision not to include books where sociological and anthropological theories are more likely to be found, may go some way to explaining why these types of theory are under-represented. In addition, Kelly et al. Given that interventions may be improved by drawing on theories specifically targeting group behaviours, this would be a useful focus for a future literature review as we are not aware of there being such a review.

Theories, as conceptualised here, ranged from quite specific e. The cut-offs at either end of this spectrum were agreed by consensus but were inevitably arbitrary. A general observation was that more general theories may have greater face validity but be less useable in guiding research than more specific theories; choice of theory will therefore be partly guided by the purpose it is to be put to. Another observation was that there appeared to be no generally accepted use of terms such as theory, model, framework and orientation, with different uses by different authors.

Increasing the precision of, and consensus on, use of terminology would be helpful for the field. Behaviours are also part of sequences, often dependent on previous behaviours e. Just as the relevance of a particular theory may vary across type of behaviour, so it may vary according to the level of specificity. The review also suggests that there are a large number of theories that are of potential use in designing public health interventions.

The cataloguing of 83 theories of behaviour change is an important resource for researchers wishing to draw on theories beyond the few that currently dominate the literature. However, few of these theories have been subjected to wide-scale rigorous empirical evaluation. There have been calls for more operationalization, application, testing and refining of theories over many years e. We need more investment into methodological and substantive research in this area, for example, the use of fractionated factorial Collins et al.

Identifying the theories in this review is just the first step in a much larger and ongoing programme of work aimed at improving the use of appropriate theory and the scientific rigour with which it is applied. Transforming the nine quality criteria into forms, such as reliable scales or response options that can be used in evaluating theories is a complex task, and a study in its own right.

The evolution of theories over time, including the issue of when a theory is considered a new theory, will also be examined. Many theories contained similar constructs or the same constructs but with slightly different names. Understanding these similarities and working towards a common set of terminology would facilitate the building of a cumulative understanding of mechanisms of action from both primary research and evidence syntheses.

Having said this, it is also important to recognise that not only language varies across and within disciplines but so do epistemological and ontological assumptions and preoccupations. The next phase of the current research is to i investigate the connectedness of theories with each other and ii operationalize and demonstrate the application of the agreed quality criteria. These will both inform the understanding of theory and its development, and help guide researchers, policy-makers and interventions on the appropriate selection and application behaviour change theories to developing public health and other behaviour change interventions.

We are also grateful to Kate Sheals for invaluable help in the latter stages of manuscript preparation. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Health Psychology Review. Townsend , Leslie R. Providing reproducible measurement of parameters for things such as pleasure and pain has important implications in evaluating products, services, and conditions. Progress in this area requires the interlinking of related developments across a variety of disciplines, embracing the physical, biological, psychological, and social sciences. Physicists and psychologists have disagreed strongly on the meaning of measurement and the possibility of "measuring" sensory events.

This led to parallel developments in measurement science within the two separate camps.